David Long explains why he wants to return to Titans

One of the Tennessee Titans’ highest priorities this offseason is linebacker David Long, who is set to hit the free-agent market in March.

Long was part of the Titans’ highly-successful 2019 draft class that saw the team land five starters, four of which are still with the team in Long, Amani Hooker, Jeffery Simmons and Nate Davis.

Being a sixth-round pick, the West Virginia product was the biggest longshot to pan out, but after a few years as a backup he developed into an impact starter, who has excelled against the run and has improved in coverage.

The only issue for Long has been staying healthy. In his two years as a full-time starter, the 26-year-old has missed a total of 12 games. In 2022, he was sidelined for each of the last five.

“It was very tough,” Long said. “You put the work in all offseason, hopefully to enter the season healthy. And the ball didn’t roll my way this year, but I feel like the time I was on the field, I gave it my all, so I can’t really be mad.”

Long says he’d love to be back. He pointed to staying with his “brothers” in Hooker and Simmons and Tennessee’s overall locker room as reasons for wanting to stay.

“Of course [I want to come back], this is all I know. I got my brothers Hook and Jeff, we all came in at the same time,” Long said.

“Just the way we treat our players, as far as the locker room. I haven’t been anywhere else, but this locker room has been great to me since I got here,” he added. “We’ve never had no type of problems or ego problems, any of that.”

Despite his injury issues, Long believes he did his job when on the field. Now all that’s left is seeing how things play out in negotiations with the Titans.

“I think I’ve done my part as far as any time I’m on the field,” Long said. “That’s the things that I can control. I think I did that throughout the year. Anything other than that, I’m going to leave it up to God and my agent.”

Spotrac estimates Long’s market value at a two-year deal worth $4.9 million per, which would rank 19th in the NFL among inside linebackers. That seems low, but if that’s all it costs to keep him, it’s a no-brainer for Tennessee.

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Story originally appeared on Titans Wire